It was a largely flawless and measured performance at super welterweight as Tszyu answered every question about his ability to take a significant step up in class. From the outset, he looked like the seasoned pro, not Horn, and now takes his record to 16-0.
Horn has had an amazing run in the sport, with a fairytale win over Manny Pacquiao never to be forgotten. But he must now surely consider retirement to spend time with his young family. It’s the most likely outcome.
“Tim was young and hungry, he’s an absolute champion. Hopefully I can support him now, he is the number one in Australia. He’s certainly earned that now,” Horn said.
“He was on his game tonight. He was outboxing out there. Tim has that hunger, I could feel it through him tonight. He has that champion spirit.
“I’m so glad I’m not cut tonight, I’m very thankful tonight. It’s time to go home, give the girls a cuddle, I’ll be kissing them tomorrow.”
Horn only knows how to fight one way and did just that from the first bell. He charged at Tszyu and was cautioned for blows to the back of the head. It was the kind of messy start that suited the Queenslander but Tszyu was already looking menacing as he picked him off with relative ease.
Referee Phil Austin cautioned both men in the second round for holding as they continued to get tangled. Horn was looking sloppy and Tszyu was the more accurate and was able to safely bank some early rounds. It was a sign of things to come.
Horn went down with a slip in the third hit, then hit the canvas for real as Tszyu started to really take control in centre ring. The bell saved Horn but he looked clumsy and lacklustre and appeared to have little answer to his opponent, who had his range measured to perfection.
The Tszyu uppercut was proving to be a weapon through the middle rounds but Horn was clinging to life and hadn’t managed to get cut to that point, which is a minor miracle for him.
Tszyu dropped Horn with a fearsome pair of shots to the body in the sixth and courage alone wasn’t going to get the former schoolteacher out of this one. He made it to the bell but was taking a severe battering from the young lion.
Horn can be too tough for his own good but did show some signs of life in the seventh, finding a home to a right, although Tszyu barely flinched and continued to break his opponent down in vicious style. But Tszyu took things to a new level in the eighth and Horn’s corner had the towel at the ready.
They didn’t need it. When asked if he wanted to go back out, Horn smartly declined, with Tszyu living up to the hype and then some in a performance that was as complete and eye-catching as he could have hoped for on the big stage.
He is now the new face of Australian boxing, although Jason Maloney might question whether he’s our pound-for-pound best. But with the new Tszyu on the block, the story is only just beginning.